India Yamaha Motor (IYM) has since the launch of its mid-size sportsbike 321cc YZF-R3 in August 2015, witnessed a sale of 706 units until February 2016, averaging monthly sales of roughly 100 units. Following the good response, the company anticipates a better build-up in its sales momentum in the near future.
At the commercial launch of the YZF-R3, Roy Kurian, VP (sales and marketing), Yamaha Motor India Sales, had estimated the model to fetch sales of close to 2,000 units in its first year. Talking to sister publication Autocar Professional in the context of this model recently, Kurian said, “The post-launch response to the YZF-R3 is good. We will try to push it through the various digital marketing platforms, because I think for this class of customers, awareness is not an issue. Earlier buyers who were not interested in buying a sportsbike had no choice but to give up to the existing options then. Now people have multiple choices. For example, a boy who likes racing bikes (mid-size) will ultimately buy the Yamaha R3. For him a streetbike would mean nothing. I think in the case of the YZF-R3, the potential buyers are riding it on a regular basis, then they are realising how good this bike is, and then they are spreading the word of mouth.
"This is the same thing that happened with the YZF-R15, which transformed the entry level sportsbike segment in India when Yamaha had rolled it out in 2003. I can still recall I used to have 5,000-6,000 bookings for several months after it was launched and there was a long waiting period across Yamaha dealerships then for this model. The sales (of YZF-R15) eventually settled down into a stable lot. We never really did any promotion for the YZF-R15s. Even today around 3,000 units of the YZF-R15s are being sold every month.”
“Therefore, we just have to be patient with the YZF-R3 in the market as the product has a lot to offer in terms of value and packaging. So while we were talking about 200 units per month and it is selling around 100 units per month as of now, I think once it stabilises at this sales level, it will build up to 200 units per month. For the first year it might land up selling 1,500 units but it will pick up later. The R Series is a legacy and we don’t have to talk about it to promote it. Riding enthusiasts who love racing are aware of the products and the brand,” he added.
Kurian, who himself rode the YZF-R3 from Chennai to Kochi via Bangalore covering a distance of close to 900km, endorses the lightweight handling of the motorcycle.
Recounting his experience, he remarks that “the stretch has good roads and that was the time I realised how it (the bike) responds and what kind of control it offers to the rider with its lightweight and nimble handling. I know for sure that the customers who buy this bike will not only ride it for a few kilometres, but will also ride it for long distances as well.”
The liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder, 321cc YZF-R3 is currently imported as a completely knocked down (CKD) unit and is assembled locally. According to the company website, the YZF-R3 comes with a starting price-tag of Rs 3.26 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
While Yamaha has not initiated any process towards localising the CKD model in India as an attempt to further bring down its retail price, the company does not deny that it is open to consider the same given the YZF-R3 starts churning out a stable, healthy demand from the local markets.
“We are not yet working on the localisation of YZF-R3. But we will be thinking about it once it starts justifying with decent volumes,” said Kurian.